Despite promises of the paperless office having been around for 30 years or more, we’re still wedded to the idea of putting things on paper. The problem is that printing needs within any business tend to grow organically. Printers are purchased to meet specific departmental needs, and there’s a lack of overall vision and control.

Of course, this also means that printing costs can spiral out of control. Having to source and stock different types of consumables, maintenance costs as well as energy use from printing will contribute to a drain on your budget. Often businesses don’t realise how much their printing is costing them and how much time the IT team spends administering and attending to printers.

By managing and controlling your printing resources centrally, it’s possible to streamline their operation and make significant savings, often around 30 percent, but how do you go about it?

Getting Started

The first step to implementing Managed Print Services from the experts at Xeretec is to conduct an audit of your existing print arrangements. This involves installing software that will monitor all of your printing over a defined period of time. You also need to take account of copiers and multifunction devices, as well as any printing jobs that you regularly contract out, such as producing publicity material for trade shows. Based on the results of a detailed analysis of all of these things, the supplier can come up with a solution based on the actual needs of your business.

This may allow you to reduce the numbers of printers and copiers you have installed, allowing you to make immediate savings by using the remaining machines you have more effectively.

At the core of managed print services is 24-hour remote monitoring of all your printers and copiers. This means problems can be spotted early and consumables can be ordered in a timely manner, removing the need to carry out these tasks internally and meaning there’s no need to carry large stocks of ink and toner.

There are other advantages to a monitored and managed system too. Technical issues can often be solved remotely rather than needing the attention of a technician. If someone does need to attend a site, remote analysis of the problem beforehand will enable then to know what parts and tools are needed to put things right, thus leading to a quicker fix and getting you up and running again as fast as possible.

You may think that switching to a managed print service will be expensive because it would involve replacing all of your existing equipment with new machines. However, in many cases it’s possible to use software to manage your existing printers and copiers, so there is no need for additional hardware expenditure. This is true even if you have older equipment and regardless of which brand the existing machines are.

Business Requirements

Businesses don’t stand still, and as your business develops scalability is an important factor in your IT systems. Managed print software allows you to spot changing patterns of usage as the business grows as well as seasonal variations. You have the flexibility to track usage by site, department or even down to individual user level if required, so you can respond to changing patterns of demand before they lead to problems and bottlenecks.

One of the big advantages of a managed service is that it can help you reduce waste. You can cut down on paper use as well as that of ink and toner by ensuring that prints are only produced when they’re really needed. You can stop unauthorised use of printers and copiers for personal tasks too. You can also save on the amount of energy used. Overall this leads to a reduction in your environmental footprint, helping you meet your green targets.

Switching to a managed print service will also mean better responsiveness to your business requirements. Increasingly, companies are turning to the use of mobile devices, and a centrally managed print network allows smartphones and tablets to print just as easily as desktop and laptop PCs. It also means that mobile and home workers can still have access to central printing resources.

With GDPR on the horizon, businesses need to ensure that they’re taking care of their personal data. A managed print service helps to control who is allowed to print what. It also ensures you have an audit trail and history of copy usage. This is useful from a security point of view and also allows you to pinpoint which parts of the business are doing the most printing.